Hoshinoya Kyoto Hotel Review: A Timeless Retreat in Arashiyama


Hoshinoya Kyoto, a luxury resort nestled in the serene landscape of Arashiyama. Established in 2009 by the Hoshino Resorts group, this tranquil haven is a testament to the timeless spirit of old Kyoto. As I ventured into this retreat, I was captivated by its unique blend of traditional Japanese aesthetics and modern luxury.

Arrival by Boat: A Unique Journey to the Resort

To reach HOSHINOYA Kyoto, guests are transported by boat from Hoshinoya Kyoto Boat Landing, located at 11-2 Arashiyama Genrokuzancho, Nishikyo-ku, Kyoto 616-0007(Google Maps). The boat service operates from 9:30 am to sunset, with no reservation required. The sailing hours are approximately from 9:30-18:00 in summer (March-October) and 9:30-17:30 in winter (November-February).

Please note that the transportation will be private cars when the boat is not operating or depending on the river and wind conditions, even during the boat operation hours. The boat waiting room, “Hoshinoya Kyoto Funamachiai,” is at the southern end of Togetsukyo Bridge.

History and Architecture: A Glimpse into the Past

Hoshinoya Kyoto was once a private villa and library built by a local merchant, Kakura Sato, four centuries ago. Over the years, it transformed into a vacation lodge, “Arashiyama Kan,” and has now been meticulously restored to become the Hoshinoya Kyoto we know today.

Walking through the resort, I was struck by the harmonious blend of traditional Japanese design and modern aesthetics. The use of natural materials, such as wood and stone, and the preservation of original structures, like the “Yukimi Shoji” (snow-viewing screen doors), added to the resort’s authentic charm.

Rooms: A Sanctuary of Tranquility

Each room at Hoshinoya Kyoto is a sanctuary of tranquility, designed with a keen eye for detail. The resort primarily features tatami-matted rooms, a nod to Kyoto’s traditional architecture. However, understanding the needs of international guests, the rooms also incorporate comfortable sofas for a more relaxed seating option.

The standout room, “Tsukihashi,” is a two-story suite with a living area that opens up to a breathtaking view of the maple forest. The suite’s large glass doors can be fully opened, transforming the space into a semi-outdoor pavilion, making you feel as if you’re in a treehouse.

Dining Experience: A Culinary Journey

Dining at Hoshinoya Kyoto is a culinary journey through the rich tapestry of Kyoto’s cuisine. The resort’s restaurant, “Arashiyama Kan,” offers a unique dining experience where each meal is a celebration of seasonal and locally sourced ingredients.

One of the unforgettable highlights is the soba noodle making demonstration by a professional noodle maker, using buckwheat flour brought from Karuizawa Hoshinoya in Nagano, Japan’s most renowned soba region. This intimate spectacle of culinary craftsmanship is a rare treat that is not to be missed.

Unique Features and Cultural Connection

Hoshinoya Kyoto is more than just a hotel; it’s a cultural immersion. The resort offers a range of activities that allow guests to experience traditional Japanese arts and crafts. From tea ceremonies to calligraphy workshops, each activity is designed to provide a deeper understanding and appreciation of Kyoto’s rich cultural heritage.

The resort’s design and atmosphere are also deeply rooted in Kyoto’s tradition. The use of century-old materials, the collaboration with local craftsmen, and the preservation of historical elements all contribute to creating an environment that embodies the spirit of old Kyoto.

Booking Your Stay: A Race Against Time

Given the exclusivity and popularity of Hoshinoya Kyoto, securing a reservation can be quite a challenge. With only 25 rooms available, they are often booked out quickly. If you see a room available, don’t hesitate – by the time you refresh the page or check back later, it might already be taken.

From my experience, different travel agents have different sources of room availability. Therefore, it’s wise to check multiple platforms to find a date that suits your travel plans. I recommend using TripAdvisor to check the availability of rooms at Hoshinoya Kyoto.

And one final piece of advice – always opt for the plan that includes breakfast and dinner. Given the hotel’s secluded location in the heart of Arashiyama, having your meals sorted will make your stay all the more convenient and enjoyable. Trust me, the culinary experience at Hoshinoya Kyoto is something you don’t want to miss!


In conclusion, Hoshinoya Kyoto offers a unique blend of luxury, tradition, and cultural immersion. It’s not just a place to stay; it’s a journey into the heart of Kyoto’s rich history and culture. Whether you’re savoring a meticulously prepared meal, participating in a traditional tea ceremony, or simply relaxing in your room amidst the serene landscape, every moment at Hoshinoya Kyoto is a step back in time, offering a taste of the timeless spirit of old Kyoto.

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